Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry has said that Sweden’s move to classify Taiwan as a province of China is “unacceptable” to the government and its people.

The Swedish Tax Agency announced last Wednesday that it would change the name of Taiwan from the “Republic of China (Taiwan)” to “Taiwan, Province of China.”

swedish tax agency screenshot
Screenshot of the Swedish Tax Agency website.

The reason provided was that the Swedish Tax Agency follows the International Organization for Standardization guidelines for country codes – ISO 3166 – and the name previously used did not match the Swedish name form for countries.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Andrew Lee said the Taiwan Mission in Sweden had been ordered to express grave concern to Stockholm. It also demanded an immediate correction, in order to defend national dignity and the rights of its people.

The foreign ministry will also make known their stance to the Swedish representative office in Taiwan and seek assistance, it said.

China does not recognise Taiwan as a country and has long pressured the international community over its status and the use of the Republic of China flag. Beijing maintains that the island-nation is a renegade province of China.

Tsai Ing-wen
Tsai Ing-wen. Photo: Taiwan Gov’t, via Flickr.

Two US departments recently decided to remove the Republic of China flag from Taiwan-related pages on their websites, with Foreign ministry spokesperson Lee calling the move “unacceptable” and “disappointing.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs then said that they had noticed China’s continual effort to restrict Taiwan’s space in the international realm, and that such moves were not conducive towards cross-strait relations.

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Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.